Directors' Choice Award Winner
by Leo Schwartz and DC Cathro
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The show begins with Emmett’s funeral and we are drawn back in time to tell the story with the help of the Gospel Quartet.
Emmett Till is a wondrous, smart child with a loving mother, Mamie, and doting grandmother Alma. Mamie is a widow who is constantly encouraged to remarry. They all live in Chicago.
Meanwhile in Money, Mississippi, Carolyn Bryant’s marriage to Roy has fallen on hard times. She and her friend, Juanita, complain about how love is not like the movies.
On a trip to Maxwell Street, Emmett meets Uncle Mose from Money, Mississippi. He encourages Emmett to visit him later that summer. Emmett is excited by the invitation, but Mamie is worried about Emmett being in the Jim Crow South, but she later relents.
Roy Bryant is always traveling for work and insists that Carolyn keep a gun on her to protect her from any “coloreds” who come to shop at their store.
The night before Emmett is to leave, Gene Mobley, a barber, takes Mamie on a first date and kind of makes a hash of it.
In Money, Emmett has a good time with his cousins. However when he walks into the Bryant store is gets a full dose of the Jim Crow South. The boys, as is their habit, play checkers on the front porch of the store. When Roy calls Carolyn from the road, he badgers her into getting her gun out of the car. As Carolyn walks to her car, Emmett lets go with a wolf whistle. The act frightens the boys and they quickly hop into the car and drive off.
While Mamie is in Chicago exploring the possibility of a new life with Gene Mobley, Emmett is lynched and murdered by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam.
When Mamie receives the news, she demands her boy’s body be returned to her so she can show the world what has happened to her child.
(The doublings for the Gospel Quartet are merely suggested by the author)
Emmett Till (“Bo”) – a 14 years old, Black.
Mamie Till (Emmett’s Mother) – 30’s, Black
Alma Till (Mamie’s Mother, Emmett’s Grandmother, aka “Mamoo”, Matriarch) – 60’s, Black
Mose (Mamie’s Uncle, Alma’s Brother-in-law), aka “Preacher”) (GQ) - 60’s, Black
Wheeler (Emmett’s first cousin once removed, Emmett’s best friend) - teens, Black
Maurice (Mose’s eldest son) (GQ) - teens, Black
Simeon (Mose’s youngest son) – 7 to 10 years old, Black
Thelma (Mose’s daughter) / (Triple cast as LIZZY and WOMAN) - Black
Carolyn Bryant (Wife to Roy Bryant and owner of a country store) – Mid-Twenties, White
Juanita Milam (Carolyn’s sister-in-law) – Late Twenties, White
Samuel Johnson (Store Customer) (GQ) – Older Black Man
Roy Bryant (Husband to Carolyn and owner of a country store) (GQ) – 24, White
Reverend Davis (Pastor of Emmett’s Church) (GQ) - 50’s, Black.
Gene Mobley (Mamie’s suitor) (GQ) - 30’s, Black
Man (any available GQ)
Gospel Quartet (four singers who can take on the roles of the various above characters.)
GQ 1 – Tenor I
GQ 2 – Tenor II
GQ 3 – Bass I
GQ 4 – Bass II
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